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The Evolution of Civilizations

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The Evolution of Civilizations


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The Evolution of Civilizations, Historical Analysis
Preface to the
First Edition
his book is not a history. Rather it is an attempt to es-
tablish analytical tools that will assist the understand-
ing of history. Most historians will regard such an effort as
unnecessary or even impossible. Some answer must be made
to these two objections.
Those who claim that no analytical tools are needed in
order to write history are naive. To them the facts of history
are relatively few and are simply arranged. The historian's
task is merely to find these facts; their arrangement will be
obvious. But it should require only a moment's thought to
recognize that the facts of the past are infinite, and the pos-
sible arrangements of any selection from these facts are
equally numerous. Since all the facts cannot be mobilized
in any written history because of their great number, there
must be some principle on which selection from these facts
is based. Such a principle is a tool of historical analysis. Any
sophisticated historian should be aware of the principles he
uses and should be explicit to his readers about these. After
all, any past event, even the writing of this book, is a fact of
history, but most such facts, including this book, do not
deserve to be mentioned in the narration of history.


Language English
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